By Katherine Kokkonen/Tablelander Newspaper
A group of Tablelands veterans want to help make the transition from the armed forces to everyday life easier for veterans and their families.
The Veterans Peer Support Network is up and running and aims to help families access the support they need.
The network offers a safe and caring environment where veterans are supported by their peers.
Secretary Ian Mackay said 16 members from different sections of the armed forces have joined.
Mr Mackay said while the network was in the early stages, veterans and their families were welcome to join.
“There was an underlying groundswell for it last year,” Mr Mackay said.
“Present community services appear to have gaps where these guys are not covered.
“It just had to get started and then everyone came together.”
Network member Kelvin Groves was in the army for more than 12 years and served in Afghanistan.
He has been out of the army for more than a year and said his family had experienced a lack of support.
Mr Groves lost a finger while in the army and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
There’s not enough support for the families,” he said.
“They have to fight and fight and fight to get some sort of counselling and some sort of acknowledgment that they could suffer because of what we go through.
“We’ve got this to start making a difference for the families and the soldiers.”
Mr Groves said veterans would be more likely to access help if their family members take the first step.
“We are really stubborn to go for help, if it wasn’t for my wife I wouldn’t have got help myself,” he said.
“We want to help the families assimilate to how their partners are going to be when they get out of the armed forces because it’s such a big change from being in the structure in the military and then coming out to the civilian world.”
For more information on the Veterans Peer Support Network, call Eileen Rothwell at Community Services Tablelands on 4091 3850.
Meetings are at 1pm, Thursdays, at 38 Mabel Street, Atherton.